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#123511 - 02/21/04 01:29 AM Sprezzatura  
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Father Steve Offline
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From the New York Times:

"If it sometimes seems that American poets are a humorless lot, lacking a certain sprezzatura, [August] Kleinzahler gives the lie to all that. He has labored in the vineyards of verse for many years, and more strikingly, he has played," writes Maureen N. McLane.

Sprezzatura is the art of making the difficult look easy.

How about that?



#123512 - 02/21/04 01:31 AM Re: Sprezzatura  
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So, what's the art of making the easy look difficult?


#123513 - 02/21/04 01:38 AM Re: Sprezzatura  
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So, what's the art of making the easy look difficult?

Working for any governmental regulatory agency?




#123514 - 02/21/04 01:53 AM Re: Sprezzatura  
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http://wso.williams.edu/~espence/sprezzmeaning.html

The meaning of sprezzatura in art and life in the High Renaissance is difficult to determine. Part of the trouble stems from the contradictions inherent in the word itself; it is paradoxical, closely related to grace, but with slightly different connotations. Castiglione's Book of the Courtier elaborated on what the word meant for social interaction. A character in the book, Count Ludovico, explains the meaning of grace, and in it he mentions sprezzatura. "It is an art which does not seem to be an art. One must avoid affectation and practice in all things a certain sprezzatura, disdain or carelessness, so as to conceal art, and make whatever is done or said appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it....obvious effort is the antithesis of grace." The most important aspect of sprezzatura is its two-layered nature: it involves a conscious effort which is disguised by a concealing act. Things which require effort are to be performed casually. Count Ludovico seems to be saying that grace arises out of sprezzatura. Anthony Blunt interprets it this way: "It will vanish if a man takes too much pains to attain it, or if he shows any effort to attain it. Nothing but complete ease can produce it. The only effort which should be expended in attaining it is an effort to conceal the skill on which it is based; and it is from sprezzatura, or recklessness, that grace springs." In High Renaissance life, the courtiers wanted to put on a kind of performance, a subtle one, without allowing anyone to know it was self-conscious and deliberate behavior.

not sure about the source, but it's a great word.



formerly known as etaoin...
#123515 - 02/21/04 02:22 AM Re: Sprezzatura  
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In another thread I mentioned the duchy of Urbino, where
in tournaments of sword fighting, the highest praise went
to those who won with the least expenditure of energy.
In the PBS series by Arthur C. Clarke, I don't remember a name being given to it but "sprezzatura" would fit.

And I think that our slang "cool" is a crude version of it.


#123516 - 02/21/04 02:37 AM Re: Sprezzatura  
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... not sure about the source, but it's a great word.

My mum always said that the best way to get a new word into your vocabulary was to use it. She recommended five times for a permanent synaptic lock.

Tomorrow I must teach a class to budding liturgists in the morning and write two sermons in the afternoon. I'm not sure how sprezzatura is going to relate to any of the three, but there is a very good chance that it will find its way into all of them.



#123517 - 02/21/04 02:42 AM Re: Sprezzatura  
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>So, what's the art of making the easy look difficult?

In sporting terms, "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory". see also "Red Sox"


#123518 - 02/21/04 02:09 PM Re: Sprezzatura  
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I hadn't seen this term before. It comes from the verb prezzare 'to price' and the suffix s- 'dis-'. The difnition my Italian dictionary gives is: "maniera volutamente e sapientemente negletta di fare, di vestire, di scrivere; opposto di ricercatezza; disinvoltura, trascuranza, scioltezza." (deliberately and skillfully ignoring how to act, dress, write; nonchalance, disregard, agility). Reminds me of that great film by Godard Le mépris from the Alberto Moravia novel Il Disprezzo (in English Ghost at Noon). I think there's more to cool than contempt, but I guess it depends which side of the chillth you're on.


#123519 - 02/21/04 02:18 PM Re: Sprezzatura  
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Sounds like Gene Kelly to me. Terrific word, FS.


#123520 - 02/21/04 02:57 PM Re: Sprezzatura  
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Father Steve, from what I can tell, you sprezzatura all over the place.


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